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Barra

The gateway to the Outer Hebrides, Barra is known for is kind and warm welcome and strong community spirit.

The island is 8 miles long by 4 miles wide and has many stunning white sandy beaches, miles of machair and a large number of historic sites from prehistoric times to modern history.

The Isle of Barra is the stronghold of the Clan MacNeil and has been since the MacNeil's first came to the island in the 11th Century.  Kisimul Castle (castle in the bay) is the seat of the Clan MacNeil.  It is currently on lease from MacNeil of Barra to Historic Environment Scotland.

In 2023, the islands celebrated the Homecoming.  Welcoming those home whose ancestors left a century before on the ship SS Marloch out of Lochboisdale to St John, New Brunswick, Canada.

 

In Barra there are annual events and festivals such as the Fisherman's Mass and Summer Fèis.

Vatersay

Vatersay is the most southerly inhabited island in the Western Isles and is connected to Barra with a causeway which was built in 1991.

The island boasts stunning twin beaches showing the contrast of the power of the Atlantic Ocean, and large expanses of dunes and machair which are rich in wildflowers.

 

Many of the sites on the island are considered sad - The Annie Jane Memorial, The Catalina Plane Crash and The Abandoned Village.  It is a reminder of the harsh environment endured by generations of islanders in contrast to the splendid beauty of the island.

The island has a community hall which runs as a café and  hosts events such as ceilidh's throughout the year.

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Bishop Isles

The Bishop Isles are an archipelago of nine islands south of Barra with Vatersay being the most northerly and only inhabited of the Bishop Isles. The islands include Padday, Sandray, Mingulay and  Bernerary to the south with Flodday, Lingay, Muldoanich and Uineasan around the other isles.

Mingulay, Pabbay and Berneray are owned by National Trust Scotland and have been under their care since 2000. 

There are boat companies which offer day trips from Barra to various islands in the archipelago to visit the dramatic cliffs, natural arches, Pictish carved stones and the abundant wildlife which now inhabit these islands.

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